December Lunchtime was conducted recently (29th Dec), and what I saw prevalent in most of the problem statements was that no explanations were given for the sample cases.

I will be blunt and honest here, I am a 2nd year CS undergrad from a Tier-4 college in India,
I am the best competitive programmer from my college ( I know…we are doomed, TCS zindabad! ).

I already feel stupid enough after reading the 3rd Problem statement in a Lunchtime problem, and today CodeChef exemplified it by making me feel even more stupid, which is a good thing, If I get to learn, but what happened today was different, I did not understand the problem statement itself, I tried asking questions to the admin in the comment!

Problem: BUCKETS

I agree that it’s my fault that I am not as “proficient” as the “elite-I-wont-explain-so-dont-bother-asking” problem setters want me to be.

But the least they could do is try explaining there own Sample Test Cases, even though they are self-explanatory for the problem setter, they might not be for everyone, We are here to learn and make mistakes not get agonized over not understanding the problem statement itself because no explanations were given.

Hope the @admin takes note in this regard and ask the problem setters to leave an Explanation, it’s polite.
Let me know if anyone else also felt the same.

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Try to read the problem statement multiple times and follow what is being asked. I know it is quite intimidating to see a long paragraph with so many variables at first but if you try to understand the statement step by step then it becomes easy. The problem that you mentioned had a good and easy sample case. The question would’ve become much easier if more sample cases or explanation had been given as the only important thing was to crack that probability depends on previous steps.

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A quick, small hack which I often find useful… Start by reading the input and format format, then move to the problem statement. You just might be able to mentally solve the problem after the first read !!!


If the test cases for the problem was explained it would have been even easier than the pattern problem. It was a problem based on ‘total probability’. This is why you might have not been provided with an explanation. Regarding understanding problem statement, it will improve with time, Keep practicing.

Totally agree with this. I always do it whenever the problem statement is too long or weird at first look.

At times they purposefully skip it as it gives a big hint to solving the problem. Other times, its dependent on setter and contest admin. You can be assured that, they had been asked multiple times in past to give explanations whereever possible and feasible, and consider it openly.